Application: The TYPO3 Community Podcast

Meet Patrick Gaumond, Technical Lead of Québec.ca, Canada

February 05, 2021 Jeffrey A. "jam" McGuire, Open Strategy Partners, TYPO3 Association, Patrick Gaumond, Technical Lead of Québec.ca, Canada Season 1 Episode 5
Application: The TYPO3 Community Podcast
Meet Patrick Gaumond, Technical Lead of Québec.ca, Canada
Show Notes Transcript

Meet Patrick Gaumond, Technical Lead of Québec.ca, the government website of the French-speaking Canadian province and the entire population’s official source for Covid-19-related information. During the pandemic, the site’s been handling a million or more hits a day with no downtime at all. Patrick has been proudly flying the TYPO3 flag since 2003, and today we talk about why he's chosen to stay with it all this time.

Read the full post and transcript on typo3.org:
https://typo3.org/podcast

Listen and subscribe to the Application Podcast on iTunes:
https://podcasts.apple.com/de/podcast/application-the-typo3-community-podcast/id1542071012

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LET’S CONNECT 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TYPO3podcast
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TYPO3Podcast/
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Meet the TYPO3 Project: https://typo3.org/ 
Find official TYPO3 partners, support offerings, and more at https://typo3.com

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THANK YOU:

TYPO3 Association for sponsoring this podcast: https://typo3.org/project/association
b13 and Stefanie Kreuzer for our logo: https://b13.com/
Patrick Gaumond for our wonderful theme music: https://www.linkedin.com/in/patrickgaumond/

Jeffrey McGuire:

Welcome to Application, the TYPO3 community podcast! One, two! Welcome to application, the TYPO3 community podcast. I'm Jeffrey A. McGuire, you can call me "jam." And this is where we celebrate the TYPO3 community, sharing your stories talking about your projects and the difference you make in around and with TYPO3 CMS. In this episode of application, that TYPO3 community podcast I speak with Patrick Gamal, who has been proudly flying that TYPO3 flag in faraway well, far away from me, Quebec City, Canada since March 27 2003. Patrick is the technical lead on quebec.ca, the official government website of the French speaking Canadian province during the pandemic, that means Patrick is in charge of the website that is the source for official COVID-19 related information for the population of Quebec. And it's been getting a million or more hits a day with no downtime at all during the pandemic. This defines and encapsulates the term mission critical website for me. We talked about how and why he chose TYPO3 in the early 2000s. And why he's stayed with it all this time. He said he chose it because it meant he would never have to say no to a feature request from his boss. And he says it remains true to this day. Patrick was the driving force between TYPO3 being adopted by the Quebec government back in 2004, and five, and Quebec runs more than 50 official web properties on TYPO3 in 2021. And even though he says he's not very good at playing all the instruments surrounding him in his home studio office, he is the composer of our exceptional quirky fun, theme music. Thank you, Maestro for your musical contribution to the TYPO3 community. I hope you all enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed speaking with Patrick to make it. So are you in Montreal?

Patrick Gaumond:

No, I'm in Quebec City.

Jeffrey McGuire:

Quebec City?

Patrick Gaumond:

Yes. It's about two hours from Montreal, my car? Uh huh. And it's almost 100% French city? Oh, yeah. So it's very different from Montreal for about the Montreal is about almost 3 million people if you take, you know, Montreal as the old region. And Quebec is about a million people. But mostly speaking French,

Jeffrey McGuire:

right? So is

Patrick Gaumond:

about one week, a year? I don't have to speak English at all. If it was not for TYPO3. I will not. Well, there's that and also a musical camp. I go near New York, but that's the only time I speak in English. Hmm.

Jeffrey McGuire:

That some better but I mean, license nice that way. And there's a lot of there's a lot of a lot of languages out there. So, um, and then what's the what's the capital of Quebec?

Patrick Gaumond:

Quebec City?

Jeffrey McGuire:

Haha. Okay.

Patrick Gaumond:

That's what I was thinking the goal. And that's, and that's why they're the government, the main government, dumping them different organisms are in Quebec City. And since I work for the government, it's only logical that I'm in Quebec City to

Jeffrey McGuire:

Sure, of course.

Unknown:

So, um,

Jeffrey McGuire:

you are French Canadian. And you have been doing TYPO3 for a very long time. And one of the reasons that I wanted to talk with you is because I'm very interested in where TYPO3 is outside of Europe right now. And I'm very, very interested in spreading the word to other places. And since you're such a strong proponent, and such a longtime community member, you know, I would I'm really looking forward to talking with you about about your history in the project and what you do with it now and a potentially little known outpost of the TYPO3 worlds in French speaking Canada, how is it that you found TYPO3?

Unknown:

the first time and when was that? It was exactly March 27 2003. That I download? TYPO3

Jeffrey McGuire:

What time was Yes.

Unknown:

Maybe around 10. I don't know. But, but as important because you know, TYPO3 changed my life. It's as simple as that. I had to do the I was at the time. I was working for the business school at Laval University in Quebec City and I was going crazy, because the websites at that time were all made, you know by hand. So each section of the website was different color different. You know, some students prefer green and some students prefer or so it was really a mess. And I had to, to do a new image for the website of the business school. So I decided to look, I asked my boss, give me two weeks, so I can find a product to make our new website and using database. That was my main point was to use eBay's because I find, you know, files was a bit awkward and a bit passe. So, what, I have my two weeks, I can't remember all the different CMS I check at that time. But TYPO3 was one of them. And I remember taking the decision to go with that product. And the reasoning behind the decision was very simple. I didn't want to say no, to my boss, when he asked for a feature. That was really the main reason I was predicting my own ass if you want. So 17 years later, and the decision is still the right one for me. So that's why I choose PayPal throughout that time. And I can tell you that in 2003, having a website and we launched a new site. That was 400 pages. And two months later, there was I think, 1000 pages, all done by a single person. Wow. Yeah. She I mean, for for the content of the website. We were only two technical people for the old website at that time. And the thing is that people call me and write email to me on the onto the campus on the because at that time, it was very, very, there was very, tell them website, that's where, you know, constant, visually constant, you know, from one house to the other, right? time, for the same reason that we rebuild it from the ground up. So I got call from colleague and people working in order faculty to ask the How did you What's the magical what's the Voodoo You did? So you have a website that is consistent everywhere. And it works. And you know, because you're in the student section, it's blue everywhere you go to the professor teachers section, it's green and stuff like that, then it was really something else at that time. And so I start doing demo over the campus, and people add up TYPO3 in many places. Nice. So I'm almost doing you my how I get them to TYPO3. Keep going, keep going. I Oh, I can talk. You know, I I do training for all week. So I can talk to TYPO3 about TYPO3 for a week, no problem. nice enough to stop me.

Jeffrey McGuire:

I'll order a pizza at some point. But otherwise, you know

Unknown:

So the thing I did also was to I've heard of the T3 oard. A conference at that time. Knowing it was Yes, but at t e time it was really well. hat's how I sold my participat on to get my plane ticket from t e union at the Laval Univers ty. For me, it was really you kn w, yes, snowboard and ski durin the day, but computers it tuff TYPO3 in the night. Yeah, eah. It's not your usual confere ce. But

Jeffrey McGuire:

it's actually a it's a brilliant format. And I mean, right now, none of us can really go anywhere and do anything. We're talking in. You know, October of 2020. So, whenever you're listening to this, we're talking in the middle of a pandemic, and it's getting worse again, and we're not really able to travel much. But um, it's funny the idea of, of going to an interesting place with actual non tech activities and combining that with, with with a tech conferences. It's actually I think it's, I think, especially, because we care about the human relationships and open source so much. I'm just, I'm sort of surprised that more people didn't do that sort of a thing. I do know there's a, there's a, there was a couple of Drupal events where they went surfing, I think, along the way, but I also had the feeling that that was more of an excuse for a holiday. So I don't know, anyway, we're thinking about if we can ever have events again.

Patrick Gaumond:

And it's also you know, it's the first time I met Kaspar. And it really, it makes me want to use and promote TYPO3, even more after that, even. And so it was really worth it. And one of the things I'm very proud of my city and my culture. So I invited Casper to Quebec City. And he did in October 2004. He went in Quebec City, and he did a presentation, we did some kind of special CMS day. And there was people from the government in the audience. And that's the beginning of TYPO3 as Quebec government run, it goes up to me working. So working with TYPO3 today, beca se it was a huge success in chem c. Government. I mean, ther 's more than 50 websites done in TYPO3 for the government of Q ebec. So,

Jeffrey McGuire:

still today,

Unknown:

it's why I'm still there. Yes. Nice.

Jeffrey McGuire:

Is it? Is it the main CMS for the Qube government

Patrick Gaumond:

Well, I don't have current numbers. As for the, you know, question about the TYPO3 in Canada, I really can't answer. I'm not. I think no one can really answer that. I know that, you know, Canada.ca, think it's made with Drupal, nd other stuff. But sure. I hink that in North America, ordPress and Drupal are the ain CMS. Sure. And then you ave stuff like, you know, the ne from Adobe. And, and some thers, but in Quebec, because t starts early in 2005. For the overnment, it's still there. nd when they had to make a ecision for the new website, hich is Quebec, that ca they hoose TYPO3 and hardening. ice. Now that was the beginning nd dm is right now. You know, he main website for the overnment of Quebec is still in YPO3.

Jeffrey McGuire:

in 2003. OnMarch 2 7, what version of TYPO3, was it that you downloaded?

Patrick Gaumond:

The version was 3.5? At the moment?

Jeffrey McGuire:

3.5? Yeah?

Patrick Gaumond:

Yeah.

Jeffrey McGuire:

Now, I can't recall was the official extension framework already there in 3.5.

Patrick Gaumond:

I think it was. Yeah. And then the TYPO3 extension repository was existing. There was also the tutorial Casper road was the modern template building. And also, one of the reason I think I was able to choose diapers rather time was that there was a website that refresh itself every two hours or something like that, where you couldn't, you know, log into the backend, do some stuff. Try the product. So at that time, it was helpful because you, you didn't have to install it yourself to try it. Right, there was a demo. Yep, that makes a difference. And you know, seeing all the I would say forward thinking of Casper into you know, extensions, and you can always change. default value that you don't like or you need to change. I see all that. You know, and for me, if you asked me you didn't, you know, can you? Can you talk about TYPO3 with just one word. My answer is flexibility. The flexibility makes it very, very interesting for me as you notes is the same thing that I said earlier, when I said, it's about saying not not saying no to my bus. I mean, if it's flexible enough, if you know you have all the backend stuff, you can do, you know, hide fields that are not necessary. Or if you know, you can add the HTML editor change from, for people doing news, where you permit, you just give permission for metallic and bold stuff like that. And you can go, you know, for editor for people with more skills, or, you know, that's a flexible do that you don't see in many products. So, right now, my, the website I worked for as more than 125, editors, wow. And literally, they are in different, you know, agencies and different government agencies. So

Jeffrey McGuire:

everybody has different needs. And flexibility, once again, made it very easy to make sure that people can do their work when you have new people coming to work on the site or work on one of your sites. And maybe they haven't worked in a TYPO3 backend. Before, how do they how, how quick and easy? Is it to show them how to use the the interface? And and would you say people enjoy using that back end on every day? Yeah, well,

Patrick Gaumond:

I do. I used to do training, and it's usually or less to do the whole training. In my past life, I did also, usually editors, the maximum I ever did was two days for the editors. And when I had to do two days, it was really different people. I mean, you know, I've been almost issues with the mouse. Okay, to two developers, so I had, you know, all kinds of people, but usually, actually not the back end, that is the main problem. The main problem of TYPO3, from my point of view is workspace, a half workspaces, it's a bit hard, and it's a bit that's a place that TYPO3 needs more love.

Jeffrey McGuire:

Now, there are people investing in that right now. Um, quite heavily, and, and putting sort of full time developer resources towards that. So

Patrick Gaumond:

I think it's gonna get better, it's a place where flexibility is almost too much. I mean, you know, each PT content can be put in the workspace or not, and stuff like that. So it's almost too much people just want their pager to publish that they don't want all the details they don't. So it's a bit over complicated for most of the people

Jeffrey McGuire:

but that that use case of having your live site and then being able to create different versions of content and get them approved or work on them before they go live is pretty important for for governments, for example, or for anyone with policies and auditing. auditing standards. You've got a room full of musical instruments there, don't you? What's your, what's your hobby? It's must be stamp collecting, right?

Patrick Gaumond:

No, no, I would say even if I got many guitars up there, I can show you a few stuff. And also, but the thing is that I'm not very good at any of these. I just like to play I just like to do my own music. I don't play music from others, usually. And my latest RB is related. I'm doing pedals. Oh, are you are guitar effects. Nice. So I I made some

Jeffrey McGuire:

and you made all of those.

Patrick Gaumond:

Yes. And, and some are missings. I'm about 25 or something

Jeffrey McGuire:

nice. And which is your favorite new hobby, which is your favorite instrument and which is your favorite pedal.

Patrick Gaumond:

Okay, favorite instrument is the guitar but which one that wasn't That's my latest. Yeah.

Jeffrey McGuire:

Beautiful.

Patrick Gaumond:

It's the Bernie. And what is special is it does sustainer pickup and sustainer pickup is it's just a switch. And it's, it creates electromagnetic field and resonate make the string resume. So, I mean there's a there's a battery, nine volt battery there so I can you know, do the just pluck the string and go take a beer and it will be it will be played they'll be playing nice so and for the pedal well so many to choose from maybe maybe well there's that one sorry it was this one is it's a big mom. Yeah. Trip trip Robert Fripp is the my favorite living guitarist. So it's the finale used in 1973 that that explained the name. So I just said to do a clone of that pedal on the other one would be this one that I already showed it. Right? So electronic harmonizer it's, it's an effect use my Frank Zappa in the 70s I very weird kind of pedal and

Jeffrey McGuire:

Nice. I like I like Frank Zappa a lot. I'm not, I'm not a like, hugely knowledgeable, but I've listened to a lot of his records. I also really like King Crimson. So there you go, right. Um,

Patrick Gaumond:

yeah,

Jeffrey McGuire:

boy, now I'm distracted. Hey, so officially, I don't have a theme song yet. Um, you want to you want to do the theme song for the TYPO3 podcasts?

Patrick Gaumond:

No problem. Just tell me how long you want it. Do you want a guitar or a smoothie?

Jeffrey McGuire:

Okay, all right. I'll tell you. I've got the words. I've got a tempo. And I will tell you and then and then we'll do a special we'll do a special extra conversation about the about the theme song if we get there.

Patrick Gaumond:

Awesome. No problem. See, I

Jeffrey McGuire:

knew. I'm so glad I'm talking with you.

Patrick Gaumond:

It's fantastic. So, you know, for King Crimson. I'm, I do I go to the King Crimson camp. New York, every summer well to death year. I've been there five times. I all I you know, I made my ukulele. fretless bass, right bass with kind of weird, strange strings, and it's, it's powered. I mean, you can fly and it's really huge. And it's signed by Adrian Balu. Tony Levon and wow,

Jeffrey McGuire:

you have some you have some fun, crazy stuff there. So I think we were supposed to be talking about what was it?

Patrick Gaumond:

So okay, yeah, I like to TYPO3

Jeffrey McGuire:

Exactly. I know that you've, I know that you've said that. You chose TYPO3 because you have never had to say no, or you never wanted to say no to any feature request. Right, and that it's really flexible. So I guess, I guess I have a couple questions about that. What's the coolest or the most interesting thing you've ever built with it?

Patrick Gaumond:

Yeah, well, it's Qubec.ca. And if you go there, it's the main site for the government of Quebec. And for the last two years, it was we launched it in June 2018. And it's it's all the the infrastructure is all on the Amazon AWS Amazon Web Service. And it's pretty solid then. And the old setup is very, very interesting. I mean, we got our database instead of MySQL, but it's Same. We've got cloud front and we got with the the pandemic, you talked about. We were now the center of the universe for the government about the COVID 19. Oh, yeah, we get very important traffic on the website. So all the infrastructure add to keep up with the demand. Because, you know, right now, we're about, you know, almost a million page view, every day. Whoo. So, we did pick the number ...

Jeffrey McGuire:

So every person in Quebec is clicking on the website twice?

Patrick Gaumond:

More than that. We, you know, we got 8 million people in the old province. Okay. Yeah. And we got a, you know, it since March, we got about 120 125 million pageviews. We add, our record is a bit more than 4 million pageviews in a single day, in March. And we didn't add any problem. It was really rock solid, then we can take even more, because we use all the elastic facilities, you know, we servers are added, once we reach 30% of CPU, or 30%. of memory, we add server every time we reach that point. And if the traffic goes down, we just kill the servers to keep them to the minimum viable ...

Jeffrey McGuire:

And TYPO3 is handling all of that just fine, too.

Patrick Gaumond:

Totally. And, and we know we can put the excuse me, sometimes I have to think about English terms, because I never use the terms in English. So every time we go in production, we put our card code in production. We can do that, you know, in the middle of the day, maybe you know that many people will be afraid to put code new code in production on a Friday. But we do that every time. And my my desire would be to do it at four o'clock on a Friday, we didn't I think two hours to 2pm was our maximum, but it's close enough for me. And we're at you know more than 100. And I think 128 production push, you know, we did the git push to the old website, because when we push in production, we re recreate all the servers, all the excuse me, all the servers, Apache, everything, all the code, everything is built from the ground up. And the new server are put behind the the active one. After one minute without any error, we kill the current working ones, and they are replaced with a new one. And we we do that anytime of the day. No problem will still working. It's really totally transparent. We don't have to ask permission, no depth, there's

Jeffrey McGuire:

no there's no downtime, there's no content freeze, there's none of that.

Patrick Gaumond:

There are been no downtime in the last six months. And even more than that. But I mean, since the pandemic, the server are just working and doing their job.

Jeffrey McGuire:

That's what we want in the end. And especially when you're responsible when you're responsible for for an essential public service even more than usual. It's, it's it's good to know that that you've got that sorted out and it's gonna it's gonna be there for everybody. That's great. Yes, so without saying flexibility, what's your favorite feature of TYPO3?

Patrick Gaumond:

I think the PCs farm the fact that you can really, you know, tailor the back end for your editors is something very very important because you know in the front end Everything is possible. And you can always, you know, do some ad cash JavaScript stuff, but if there's something that's working like you want, but the back end is really where, you know, you have a direct conversation with the people using it. So I think to be able to tailor the, the, the, the interface for the users, which, you know, you can talk to them, and you have to train them. Yeah, so, all of this, for me, it's, it's really, you know, I know that I can get rid of all the annoyance, except workspaces. Okay, we're back to that.

Jeffrey McGuire:

You know, in the great open source tradition, if you complain about it, you're gonna have to go and fix it.

Unknown:

Yeah, but at the same time, I and I'm totally, I'm the first guy that want, you know, all, everything we develop, I would like it to be on TER, but on the TYPO3 extension repository, but on the other end, you know, I'm always in a rush and always having pressure from political. So it's really, really hard. Even just sharing our template. Yeah. Simple, simple stuff is, it's, it's really hard to, you know, just get your I don't like the expression because it's an English, you know, just get the air out of the water. Yes. to breathe. So, it's really challenging to, but everything we, every time, we think it could be worth it. We've tried to do it. I mean, one of the extension we did we work on a call. I think, yeah, I just don't know Scheduler. So if it's jobs for the scheduler, and one of them is the ability to do SQL queries. And you can add the result in an email. So, and it's pretty convenient, because we didn't have time to add back in Module Two, to get our comments, you know, the, those are the footer of the pages, where people can say, Oh, yeah, it was useful or not. And so we simply send emails with the comments and the statistics from them, but the the extension was very handy, but it was also the problem that it was not doing files. So the export, if you even if you have, I don't know, 1000 lines was inside the email body. So we did, we did have the possibility to have a CSV file attached instead, perfect, perfect. And, and also the every time you wanted to have a different email title, you had to do a new fluid template. So not very convenient. So we ended up with many miles with just you know, additional scheduler email or something like that as the as the title of the email. So we did the modification to add the title, even the body text, you can change the CSV. And we just did a pull request to the official author of the original extension. And he did use it we had a few back and forth for the for the code or you know how to do things. And but in a week, it was done and made it it's been there for almost a year now. And, and that's totally in line with my philosophy to share because you know, the TYPO3 motto is, I live by that. I mean, I've share my knowledge I've shared my passion for TYPO3 for more than 15 years. I still continue So, right. Yeah

Jeffrey McGuire:

Inspiring people to share?

Patrick Gaumond:

Yes.

Jeffrey McGuire:

So I'm doing a thing on the podcast called the suggested guest. And I would like you to tell me who I should who you'd like to hear me speaking with on another podcast?

Patrick Gaumond:

Yeah, well, my first idea would be to try to get a Phillip Fekete. Philip i the, he works for Well, he own Tomorrow. And Tomorrow is one of the main provider of TYPO3 ervices in gimmick sippy. And he is his team that did the initia Amazon infrastructure for us Because at the time, when w , you know, when we start to get back that CA, we were only t o technical people on the team, t's very small thing for such a huge website. So we had, we nee ed output, the initial setup. And so he could talk, you know, ll the myths and myths for th whole setup on Amazon, and I now, they have other client too. So that would be the fi st person I think of sounds like a great idea.

Jeffrey McGuire:

I'm so, um ... 17 years of TYPO3 since March 27, 2003. Congratulations. That's ... but it's fantastic! And I think that you know ... The, the fact that people gave us tools like this to use and then we can build our lives around them and help other people and you can help your entire province with the critical information. It's a it's an amazing story of technology, doing really good things in the world. And I really, really like being part of that sort of, be part of that sort of a activity and a movement and, and a philosophies, philosophy. So thank you for all your contribution and all your enthusiasm. Hopefully we'll be able to meet in person sometime, but certainly not going to be anytime soon. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. I will write you an email now very short with with my thoughts about the podcast theme song. And and then, you know, maybe we can make that happen. That would be that would be really, really fun. A community theme song for a community podcast. That would be super cool.

Patrick Gaumond:

It would be my pleasure to participate. I like sharing.

Jeffrey McGuire:

Great. Okay, fantastic. Patrick, thank you so much.

Patrick Gaumond:

My pleasure!

Jeffrey McGuire:

All right, take care. Thanks to the TYPO3 Association for sponsoring this podcast. Thank you, b13 and Stephanie Kreuzer for our logo. Now see, beaucoup de como TYPO3, developer and musician extraordinaire and for our theme music. Thanks again to today's guest. If you like what you heard, don't forget to subscribe in the podcast app of your choice and share application the TYPO3 community podcast with your friends and colleagues. If you didn't like it, please share it with your enemies. Would you like to play along and suggest a guest for the podcast? Do you have questions or comments? reach out to us on Twitter at TYPO3 podcast? You can find shownotes links and more information in our posts on TYPO3 dot org. Remember, open source software would not be what it is without you. Thank you all for your contributions

Patrick Gaumond:

Hello?

Jeffrey McGuire:

Do you play the Do you play the sitar?

Patrick Gaumond:

I play everything I can my hands onto.

Jeffrey McGuire:

Wow, nice!